At a time when LGBT rights is a burning issue in India, and around the world too, New York-based photographer Braden Summers is hoping that his All Love Is Equal Project, which captures same-sex couples from across the globe, will change mindsets
Braden Summers isn’t just another photographer who loves to shoot couples in romantic milieus and moods. He believes in composing photographs with elements and scenes that tell a story, visually. In a candid email interview, he speaks about the challenging process of putting these frames together, especially when it came to shooting in India.
Pics courtesy/ Braden Summers
Q. What prompted you to start the photography series, All Love Is Equal?
A. The All Love Is Equal project began while I was in Paris. I was shooting lots of romantic imagery when my boyfriend had suggested that I shoot a gay version. The resulting image of two men on a London Bridge sparked the idea to shoot a whole series of these “iconic” photographs in different cultures worldwide.
Summers began his All Love is Equal Project with this frame shot on the iconic London Bridge
Q. When did you start and how many do you have by now? What is the aim?
A. I started the project in 2012 with the single image captured in London, but all of the other images were shot between August and September 2013.
Q. Where all did you travel for this project and was it easy to convince people to pose for you?
A. I travelled to Paris, India, Lebanon, South Africa, Brazil, and the US. It was incredibly difficult to get people to pose for me, especially in India and Lebanon. I was nervous that I would leave some of these countries without getting any photographs because it took so much effort to find the subjects that I was looking for. Many modelling agencies didn’t even respond to my requests. In Lebanon, most gay men and women are not out to their families so they were afraid to participate; luckily, a few agencies came through in the end to save the day.
Q. What is your opinion about the existing scenario as far as LGBT rights go in India?
A. Well, first of all, it is heartbreaking to know that loving the person your heart belongs to can be a crime. It is unfathomable to know that when I was in Mumbai back in August 2013, it was legal and that the laws have since changed, for the worse. I hope the laws quickly change back to serve the rights of all their citizens.
(NOTE: The Supreme Court reinstated Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code in December 2013)
Beirut, Lebanon. Pics courtesy/ Braden Summers
Q. What are your future plans? Are you working on any other project?
A. I would love to continue the project in other countries. At the moment, I am focussing on getting this project in front of as many people as possible in the hope of changing the hearts and minds of anyone who will look at my work. Same-sex romance should be accepted on a global scale; our sexual identity is not something we choose. We cannot let those who are prejudiced about gay and lesbian couples take away our rights. Future projects come along when there is new inspiration, so only time will tell what’s next!
Log on to www.bradensummers.com to view more images